The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have placed tight end O.J. Howard on injured reserve after an MRI confirmed he has suffered a torn Achilles.
Howard sustained the injury in the Buccaneers’ 38-31 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, which moved them to 3-1.
He caught three passes for 50 yards and a touchdown as Tampa Bay overturned a 17-point deficit to prevail at Raymond James Stadium.
However, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady will be without the option of the 2017 first-round pick for the remainder of the season.
Brady does still have fellow former New England Patriots great Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate as weapons at tight end.
Tom Brady was effective passing to all levels of the field, finishing 4/7 for 149 yards & TD on deep passes (20+ air yards).
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 4, 2020
Gronkowski, who came out of retirement to link up with Brady in Tampa Bay, has played a limited role in the Bucs’ passing game.
Through four games, Gronkowski has been targeted just 14 times, putting him on pace for 56 for the season, which would be his lowest number since an injury-disrupted 2016 season (38 in eight games).
With Chris Godwin (hamstring) not expected to feature in Thursday’s meeting with the Chicago Bears, there will be a greater onus on top wide receiver Mike Evans, Brate and potentially Gronkowski to deliver.
Evans has quickly developed an outstanding rapport with Brady and leads the NFL, along with Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan, with five receiving touchdowns this season.